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Set your course for success


Admission requirements for Oklahoma colleges and universities 2 Getting ready: A list of tasks for each year of high school 4 Don’t be afraid to try and fail 8 Sound advice from college admissions counselors 9




Meeting requirements for college A brief guide to making sure that acceptance letter comes in the mail


chools consider your ACT and/or SAT score, high school grades, extracurricular activities and application essays during the admission process. By the time you’re ready to narrow down your list of colleges you should have all of your important test scores. Compare your qualifications to the admission requirements and decide which schools are most likely to accept you. It’s generally a good idea to make sure your list includes at least one school you’re confident will grant you admission. While it’s important to be real-

istic about your options, don’t be afraid to take a chance. College admission is decided by real people who may be able to see beyond test scores. A great admission essay, dedication to volunteer work or extracurricular activities can make the difference. It’s important to consider college costs when choosing a college. College websites are required by law to provide an online tool that estimates educational expenses such as tuition and fees. This can help give you an idea of how much college will cost you and your family each year. Though college can cost both money and time, there are many options for financial aid to help you pay for school.

GETTING IN Course requirements for state colleges and universities ENGLISH 4 units: Grammar, composition and literature MATHEMATICS 3 units: Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, math analysis, calculus, Advanced Placement statistics LAB SCIENCE 3 units: Biology, chemistry, physics

HISTORY AND CITIZENSHIP SKILLS 3 units: U.S. history, economics, geography, government, civics, non-Western culture OTHER 2 units from any of the subjects listed above or from computer science or foreign language It’s generally a good idea to make sure your list includes at least one school you’re confident will grant you admission. While it’s important to be realistic about your options, don’t be afraid to take a chance. [THINKSTOCK PHOTO]

When it comes to SAT prep, practice makes profit By Natalie Gross

“I just didn’t know there were (free) resources. You had to buy the prepping book, and I didn’t have the money for it.”

Special To The Washington Post

When Nathan Bernard took the PSAT his freshman and sophomore years of high school, he admits, he didn’t take the test seriously. “I don’t think I brought a calculator,” the blond 17-year-old said, laughing. Back then, Bernard was running cross country and playing on the basketball team at a high school with about 1,900 students. His grades weren’t great, but he didn’t care that much; college was still a long way off. Now a senior with eyes on a spot in the engineering program at Virginia Tech, Bernard has quit sports to focus on his grade-point average. He’s a member of the National Honor Society, takes advanced math courses and tutors other students. But Bernard is after more than just a 4.0. He wants to score at least 1360 out of a possible 1600 on the SAT to make his college application look even more attractive. The Virginia Tech College of Engineering accepted only about 55 percent of applicants into this year’s freshman class, according to the college. This time, Bernard’s preparation began before Christmas with once-a-week, two-hour, in-home tutoring sessions with an instructor from Varsity Tutors, a St. Louis-based company with tutors throughout the country. After the holidays, he started tutoring sessions again about a month before he was set to take the SAT in March and also attended courses at Edge Ed in Springfield, Virginia, for additional help with the optional, more difficult math subject test he took in May. He studied more on his own before taking the SAT again on June 4, hoping to beat his previous score of 1300. That all came with a price tag of about $2,500 for the family of four — “easily, between the different ones,” said Mary Bernard, Nathan’s mother. But even that’s relatively inexpensive when comparing Varsity Tutors’ $64-anhour services in the Washington, D.C., area with the hourly rates of the betterknown Kaplan Test Prep, for

Reginald Jackson, 18


example, which range from $2,399 for 12 hours of private tutoring to $5,999 for 36. (Packages of 20 hours or more come with unlimited access to online courses that also prepare students for the SAT.) The Princeton Review charges $1,400 for 10 hours of private tutoring and $3,000 for 24. And while Bernard and his parents saw value in making the financial sacrifice for tutoring and other methods of test prep, the teen’s favorite resource, recommended by his Varsity tutor, turned out to cost nothing at all. In June 2015, SAT administrator College Board partnered with Khan Academy, a nonprofit education organization, to launch Official SAT Practice. The free online feature includes tutorial videos and practice tests with immediate grading, to help students like Bernard who are looking for extra ways to ensure they’re prepared for the test. College Board critics say the partnership is the latest attempt by the administrators of the SAT to stay relevant. In 2012, the ACT surpassed the SAT as the most popular college admissions exam in the country. But

the collaboration with Khan Academy is also seen by many as a step toward bridging the gap between those who can afford to pay for SAT prep and those who can’t. Leveling the playing field On a Monday night in late June, nearly two dozen teenagers gathered at a Boys & Girls Clubs branch in Washington for an introduction to the Khan Academy’s SAT prep resources. In a room where the entrance was decorated with banners from universities like Penn State, Rutgers and Yale, students sat at a row of computers lining a wall — some huddled in groups of two or three — to create profiles and test their knowledge on the site. Teen program director LeVar Jones said he didn’t know of any students at the club who were engaged in SAT prep outside of what they may have received at school. Many of the teens live in low-income neighborhoods nearby, and their families can’t afford to hire a personal tutor. According to College Board data on SAT takers in the class of 2015, students whose family incomes were above

$200,000 received an average score of 1720 on the critical reading, math and writing portions combined out of the possible 2400 on that version of the test. Students whose families made $20,000 or less scored an average of 1314. “A lot of these kids, they may not be talking about SAT prep at home,” said Jones. “They may not be talking about college at home ... so this is it.” Since the launch of Official SAT Practice, the College Board has begun working with schools and nonprofit organizations across the country, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCA and the Parent Teacher Association, to offer the program where there are mentors. Jones said the no-cost effort is a way to “level the playing field” and unstack the odds for students like Reginald Jackson. At FBR, the senior dance student at Duke Ellington School of the Arts was among many who were hearing about the free SAT prep resources for the first time. Jackson, 18, took the SAT without studying for it. “I just didn’t know there were (free) resources,” he said. “You had to buy the prepping book, and I didn’t

have the money for it.” In October 2016, the College Board had counted more than 2.3 million Official SAT Practice users. And according to the nonprofit’s survey of SAT takers in March, May and June of last year, three times as many students used the Khan Academy resources to prepare for the test than those who paid for commercial test prep. Their data also indicate that students across all income levels are using the free resources, said Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment for the College Board. In a 2009 report for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the most recent large-scale study evaluating the effect of test prep on scores, Derek Briggs of the University of Colorado at Boulder found that commercial coaching improves a student’s overall SAT test score by an average of about 30 points — much less than many people assume and some test prep companies advertise. While the free Khan Academy resources may narrow performance gaps, Briggs said it’s too early to tell whether the Official SAT Practice will produce the same gains as commercial test prep. “What we just don’t know at this point is how good the resources are,” said Briggs, a professor of quantitative methods and policy analysis. “The empirical kind of research question is: Are the kinds of things you can find online for free that provide you the opportunity to practice questions and also perhaps give feedback — how does that compare with the sort of experience that a student has with a human tutor that is giving real-time feedback, and also not just feedback on how you’ve done on a question, but actual instruction?” Gross is the Latino Ed Beat blogger for the Education Writers Association.








Plan for college

A H I G H S C H O O L R OA D M A P Use this checklist from to help make the best decisions for attending college.

Freshman year • Now that you’re in 9th grade, it’s time to get serious about your college plans. By starting early, you’ll be better prepared. • Study hard! Build good study habits to keep your grades in tip-top shape. • Save money. Sign up for a college savings account from Oklahoma’s 529 college savings plan (OK4Saving,org) or continue to add money to an existing account. It’s generally best to keep most savings in your parents’ name. • Apply for Oklahoma’s Promise! If you didn’t apply in eighth grade, visit to sign up for this scholarship program. • Talk it up. Discuss your plans with your guidance counselor, teachers, family members, or other trusted adults. • Take the right classes. To be college bound, your class schedule should contain at least four college-preparatory classes per year including: — 4 units of English — 3 units of math (at or above Algebra 1) — 3 units of laboratory science — 3 units of history/citizenship skills — 2 units of electives from the areas above or foreign language or computer science. • Some schools recommend you take an extra unit in math, an additional unit in lab science and two units in speech or fine arts (music, art, or drama). • Your transcript is a permanent record. Work hard so you are proud to show colleges and future employers the grades you make. • Check it out. Find out about college entrance requirements for the schools you’re interested in. • Track it. Create a file of the following documents and notes: — report cards — lists of awards and honors — school and community activities — volunteer work. • Start thinking about the colleges you want to attend. • Find out about AP and other honors-level courses. • Continue to get involved in campus and community activities. • If you didn’t take it last year, take the ACT EXPLORE test to evaluate your skills in English, math, reading and science reasoning. It’s good practice and your scores won’t count towards your college application. How are you spending your summer? • Volunteering and educational programs can help give you a better idea about what kind of training or career would be right for you. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education offers free summer academies. These are great opportunities to get experience in a field of interest and to build on your academic resume. • College life can be a big change — you’re on your own! • Try taking some small steps towards independence this year, perhaps with more responsibility around your house.

Sophomore year • Keep those grades up! • Stay focused on your schoolwork and actively involved in high school. • Last chance to apply for Oklahoma’s Promise! If you didn’t apply in eighth or ninth grade, visit to sign up for this scholarship program. • Sign up for a college savings account at Oklahoma’s

requirements above your current GPA, and at least one with requirements below your GPA. • Begin scheduling interviews with admissions counselors. • If possible, schedule tours of the school grounds on the same days. You and your parent(s) may want to visit the colleges and universities during spring break and summer vacation so you don’t have to miss school. December: • You will receive your scores from the October PSAT if you took it that month. • Depending on the results, you may want to consider signing up for free online SAT prep.

Stay involved in school and community activities. This looks good on your resume for scholarships and college applications. [THINKSTOCK PHOTOS] 529 college saving plan. If you have an existing account, remember to continue to add money. • Talk to your parents about financial aid options. It’s never too early to start planning how you’re going to pay for college. • Continue your conversations with your guidance counselors, teachers, family members or trusted adults about your plans for college. • Find out about AP and other honors-level courses for junior year. • Update your college planning file — or start one, if you haven’t already. • Know what you need. Review what courses you’ll need to take to satisfy the requirements of the school you’re interested in attending. • Be active. Continue extracurricular activities. Remember, many admissions officers look for well-rounded students who participate in the world around them. • If you have room in your schedule, consider a part-time job or volunteer position. • Stay motivated. Look into participating in academic enrichment programs, summer workshops and camps with specialty focuses such as music, arts and sciences. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education offers free summer academies. These are great opportunities to get experience in a field of interest and to build on your academic resume. • Take the PLAN test. This is a valuable test to help you prepare for the ACT, which you can take next year. The Oklahoma State Regents pays for every sophomore in Oklahoma to take it. Ask your counselor for more information. • If you plan to take the SAT, take the PSAT in October. The scores will not count for National Merit Scholar consideration this year, but it is good practice for taking the PSAT in your junior year (when the scores will count). • It’s not too early to start studying for standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. • Investigate your options for participating in concurrent enrollment next year. This allows juniors and seniors to enroll in college courses if they meet certain requirements. • Make a list of reasons why you like different colleges and universities — programs, location, cost and so on. • Start thinking about what factors are important to you in choosing a college: size, location, availability of extracurricular activities, for example. • Keep reading! Expanding your vocabulary and learning new things will help with many things over the next few years.

Junior year • Maintaining your grades during your junior year is important. • Be sure that every course you take helps prepare you for college. Colleges will look at coursework take and expect rigor (challenging work) in your choices. Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses help prepare a student for college. • If you are an Oklahoma’s Promise student be sure you are taking the proper coursework to qualify and that you are maintaining a good GPA. • Make sure you’re challenging yourself academically. Colleges will consider how difficult your courses are. • Now is the time to really focus your career and college research. • Do a thorough review. Ask for a copy of your transcript and evaluate yourself. Look at your class rank and GPA. Look for any gaps or low points and seek advice from your counselor on ways to improve these areas. • As you research education and career options, share your discoveries with your family. • Keep talking. Continue your conversations with your guidance counselor, teachers, family members or other trusted adults about your plans after high school. Talk with family and friends about their educational choices. • Stay involved in school and community activities. This looks good on your resume for scholarships and college applications. • Talk to your guidance counselor (or teachers, if you don’t have access to a guidance counselor) about the following: — Availability of and enrollment in AP classes — Concurrent enrollment opportunities: taking college-level courses before you graduate from high school — Schedules and important deadlines and dates for the PSAT, ACT and AP exams, SAT I and II — Ask which of these exams would be the best fit for your future — and sign up for those tests. Remember, you can always change your mind • Review your academic record with your counselor and talk about ways to improve. • Find out the admission requirements for the colleges you’re interested in. Do your research and be sure to find out about any additional requirements besides GPA and test scores. FALL SEMESTER August: • Obtain schedules and forms for the ACT and Advanced Placement

exams and or SAT I, SAT II. September: • Register for the PSAT exam offered in October. • Remember that when you take the PSAT in your junior year, the scores will count towards the National Achievement Program (and it is good practice for the SAT I). • Start a file for college catalogs and other admissions information. • Keep an eye out for college nights at any schools in your area you may want to attend. October: • Take the PSAT if you registered for it this month. • Visit colleges, talk to recruiters, and learn about programs offered. Narrow your list of colleges to include a few colleges with requirements at your current GPA, a few with

SPRING SEMESTER If you’re choosing your senior year classes, look for classes that will give you a strong transcript. You’ll also want to look for classes that will fit your college study plans. Consider looking for a summer job or internship. Not only can you earn money for college, you can also learn valuable skills. January: • Continue with your campus tours online or in person. You want to be narrowing down your list of potential colleges. February: • Register for the March SAT or the April ACT, or both. • Research the requirements of the colleges you’re interested in to learn about admission deadlines and which tests to take. March: • Take the March SAT I exam if you registered to take it this month. • If possible, schedule tours of campuses on the same

days. Your family may want to visit the colleges and universities during spring break and summer vacation so you don’t have to miss school. April: • Take the April ACT test if you registered for this month. May: • Take the AP, SAT I and SAT II exams. • Talk to teachers about writing letters of recommendation for you. Think about what you would like to include in these and politely ask your teachers if they can help. June: • Add any new report cards, test scores, honors or awards from the year to your file. • Take the ACT tests, and SAT I, SAT II if you’re registered. If there is one subject area you need to improve on, focus on studying for that area to help increase your score. Summer: • Continue with your college visits. Call ahead for appointments with the financial aid, admissions and academic advisors at the colleges in which you are most interested. • Be productive. Find opportunities in the summer that will enhance your college and scholarship resume. • Continue to work on your application essays and review the application procedures for the colleges you plan to apply to. • Decide if you are going to apply under any early decision or early action programs. This requires you to submit your applications early, typically between October and December of your senior year. • Read your college mail and send reply cards to your schools of interest.



Senior year • You want to avoid “senioritis.” Take courses that will prepare you for college. • Stay on track. Review courses with your counselor to make sure you’re meeting high school graduation requirements, Oklahoma’s Promise course work and GPA expectations, and entrance requirements for the schools that interest you. Remember to update your Course Plan Builder. • Talk to your counselor about possibilities for concurrent enrollment (taking college-credit courses while you’re still in high school). • Save your money! Continue to plug money into your Oklahoma 529 plan. • Sign up. Even if you’ve already taken ACT or SAT, register for the fall ACT and/ or SAT tests; you might boost your score! Have the official scores sent by the testing agency to the colleges or universities that have made your final list of schools. • Visit college campuses that are a good match with your abilities and career interests. FALL SEMESTER September: • Narrow your choices. Many students select three to five schools to apply to, including their “dream” school, their “safety” school and two or three other choices. • Check your transcripts to make sure you have all the credits you need to get into the colleges that interest you. • Find out from the colleges whether or not they need official copies of your transcripts (these are sent directly from your school). • Keep an eye out for financial aid workshops and seminars, for both you and your parents. There is

a lot of help out there when you’re looking for info on financial aid. • Register for the October/ November SAT I, SAT II and ACT tests if you plan to take them. Make sure your official test scores are sent to the colleges to which you are applying. • Take another look at your list of colleges, and make sure they still satisfy your requirements. It’s not uncommon for students’ goals to change. • Make sure you meet the requirements (including any transcript requirements) for all the colleges to which you want to apply. • Double-check the deadlines. • Give any recommendation forms to the appropriate teachers or counselors with stamped, college-addressed envelopes, making certain that your portions of the forms are filled out completely and accurately. • Most early decision and early action applications are due between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1. Keep this in mind if you intend to take advantage of these options, and remember to request that your high school send your official transcripts to the college on time. October: • Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between Oct. 1 and June 30. • Make a final list of schools that interest you and keep a file of deadlines and required admission items for each school. Many students like to have a "dream school" and a "safety school" as well as two or three others. • Take the SAT or ACT tests. Have the official scores sent by the testing agency to the colleges or universities that have made your final list of schools. • Register for December

or January SAT I or SAT II tests, if necessary. • Get started on any essays to be included with your applications. Give your essays to others (teachers, parents, friends) for feedback. November: • Submit your college admission applications. • Be sure to check them over thoroughly! Having someone else review your application with you can help you catch any errors. • Be sure to consult with your school counselor about scholarship opportunities. Not all scholarships are for top students and athletes. There may be a perfect scholarship for you — it’s worth doing a little research. • Work on your scholarship applications and mail according to deadlines. • Check with the financial aid office of schools you are applying to for specific information on scholarships and costs for tuition, fees, room and board, and any additional financial aid info they require. • If you completed the FAFSA, you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within four weeks. • Make the necessary corrections and return it to the FAFSA processor. December: • Watch your mailbox if you submitted an early decision application. • Early decision replies usually arrive between Dec. 1 and 31. If you do get an acceptance, you should withdraw any other applications. • If you haven’t already done so, make sure your official test scores are being sent to the colleges to which you are applying. • Talk taxes. Make sure you and your parent(s) have completed income taxes forms as soon after Jan. 1

as possible in anticipation of completing the financial aid applications, some of which have early deadlines. All students regardless if they qualify for financial aid must complete a FAFSA. • Apply for an FSA ID. Request an FSA ID at fsaid. This FSA ID is used throughout the federal aid process, including completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. SPRING SEMESTER January: • Check for other financial aid options. In order to be considered for financial aid, you will need to submit a FAFSA, even if you have not yet been notified of your acceptance to the college(s) to which you applied. • Request that your high school send your official transcripts to the colleges to which you are applying. • Contact the admissions office of the colleges to which you have applied to make sure that your information has been received, and that they have everything they need from you. February: • Complete your scholarship applications. • Contact the financial aid office of the colleges to which you have applied to make sure your information has been received, and that they have everything they need from you. March-April: • You will probably hear from the colleges as to whether or not you are accepted by April 15. • If you will be living on campus, submit your housing deposit to ensure you get the residential option you prefer. • Compare your acceptance letters, financial aid and scholarship offers. These are all important things to consider when choosing a

college. • When you choose a college that has accepted you, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit for freshman tuition. This should ensure your place in the entering freshman class. May: • Take AP exams for any AP subjects you studied in high school. • Decision time! You should decide on a college by May 1. Notify that school by mailing your commitment deposit check. Many schools require that your notification letter be postmarked by this date. • If you were placed on a waiting list for a particular college and have decided to wait for an opening, contact that


college and let them know you are still very interested. June: • Have your school send your final transcripts to the college you will be attending. • Contact your college to determine when fees for tuition, room and board are due, and how much they will cost. Summer: • Participate in any summer orientation programs for incoming freshmen. • Now that you know you will be attending college in the fall, it is a good idea to make sure you have student health insurance in case of any emergencies. SOURCE:

Narrow your choices. Many students select three to five schools to apply to, including their “dream” school, their “safety” school and two or three other choices.




Oklahoma Colleges & Universities Oklahoma Panhandle State University • Goodwell • Type of institution: Four-year

NW 192


NW 178

• Emphasis: Agriculture and

education • Contact: (580) 349-2611 or (800) 664- 6778,

NW 164

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

NW 122

• Alva; branches in Enid and Woodward • Type of institution: Four-year university • Emphasis: Liberal arts and sciences, Master of Education and Master of Counseling Psychology, Master of Business Administration • Contact: Alva — (580) 327-1700, Enid — (580) 237-0334, Woodward — (580) 237-0334, www.



College campuses around the metro

NW 150





44 35


NW 63 NW 50


NW 36

235 2

16 15



NW 23



NW 10 Reno SW 15


SW 29


SW 44


SW 59

Northern Oklahoma College


SW 74


SW 104

• Tonkawa — Branches in Enid, Stillwater • Type of institution: Two-year college • Emphasis: Associate degrees in art, science and applied science • Contact: Tonkawa, (580) 628-6200, Enid, (580) 242-6300, Stillwater, 744-2246,

SW 119


SW 134 SW 149 SW 164

8441; Muskogee, 918-683-0040; Broken Arrow, 918-449-6000;

four-year and comprehensive university, degree programs delivered through distance education • Emphasis: Course work for associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in a variety or subjects from multiple institutions • Contact: (580) 718-5600, www.










University of Oklahoma Mid-America Christian University Oklahoma Baptist University Oklahoma Christian University Oklahoma City University St. Gregory's University Southern Nazarene University Southwestern Christian University


9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.


Air Depot










County Line




Santa Fe

University Center at Ponca City


• Contact: Tahlequah, 918-542-

Czech Hall






• Stillwater — Branches in Oklahoma City and Tulsa • Type of institution: Four-year comprehensive research university • Emphasis: Agriculture, arts and sciences, business administration, education, engineering, architecture and technology, human environmental sciences, veterinary medicine • Contact: 744-5358 or (800) 233-5019, ext. 1, Tulsa — (919) 594-8000, Oklahoma City — 9474421 or (800) 560-4099, www.

• Type of institution: Two-year,



SW 179

Oklahoma State University

• Ponca City



SW 89

MAP KEY 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City Langston University – Oklahoma City Rose State College Oklahoma City Community College Redlands Community College University of Central Oklahoma Platt College – Moore University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Oklahoma State University —Okmulgee • Okmulgee • Type of institution: Two-year

technical college • Emphasis: Technical • Contact: (918) 293-4678 or (800)


Bacone College • Muskogee

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

• Type of institution: Four-year

college • Emphasis: Professional pro-

• Bartlesville • Type of institution: Four-year

University • Emphasis: Liberal arts • Contact: (918) 335-6219, (800)


grams and liberal arts • Contact: (918) 683-4581, www.

Western Oklahoma State College

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College

• Altus

• Miami

and academic transfer programs • Contact: (580) 477-2000, www.

• Type of institution: Two-year

residential college

• Type of institution: Two-year college • Emphasis: Technical education

• Emphasis: General education,

technical/occupational technical, terminal and transfer programs • Contact: (918) 542-8441 or (888) 464-6636,

Rogers State University • Claremore; branches in Bartlesville and Pryor • Type of institution: Four-year university • Emphasis: Business administration, business information technology, liberal arts, social and behavioral sciences, applied technology, nursing, game development • Contact: Claremore, (918) 343-7777; Bartlesville, (918) 338-8000; Pryor, (918) 825-6117,

Northeastern State University

Southwestern Oklahoma State University • Weatherford; branch in Sayre • Type of institution: Four-year university, master’s degree programs in business education, health sciences and music, and doctoral degree in pharmacy. • Emphasis: Professional/liberal arts • Contact: (580) 774-3019, www.

Cameron University • Lawton; branch in Duncan • Type of institution: Four-year university • Emphasis: Business, education/ behavioral sciences, graduate studies, liberal arts and science/technology • Contact: Lawton — (580) 5812200,


• Contact: 224-3140 or (800) 933-

University Center of Southern Oklahoma • Ardmore • Type of institution: Off-campus

• Tahlequah; branches in Broken Arrow and Muskogee • Type of institution: Four-year university • Emphasis: Business, education, liberal arts, optometry, science and health

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma • Chickasha • Type of institution: Four-year

university • Emphasis: Liberal arts

Seminole State College


consortium of colleges and universities • Emphasis: General education, business, education, nursing and liberal arts • Contact: (580) 223-1441, www.

university • Emphasis: Liberal arts and

• Seminole


• Type of institution: Two-year

• Contact: (580) 332-8000, www.

public college • Emphasis: University transfer and technical/occupational programs • Contact: 382-9230,

East Central University • Ada; branches in Ardmore, McAlester and Shawnee • Type of institution: Four-year

Murray State College • Tishomingo; branch in Ardmore • Type of institution: Two-year College • Emphasis: Transfer programs and technical/occupational programs




University of Central Oklahoma • Edmond • Type of institution: Four-year university and master programs • Emphasis: Fine arts and design, contemporary music, business, education and professional studies, liberal arts, forensic science, mathematics and science, graduate studies and research • Contact: 974-2000, www.uco. edu

University of Oklahoma • Norman • Type of institution: Comprehensive four-year research university • Emphasis: Comprehensive • Contact: 325-2151, www.go2.

OU Health Sciences Center • Oklahoma City and Tulsa • Type of institution: Professional, graduate and upper-level undergraduate • Emphasis: Medicine and health careers • Contact: 271-4000, www.ouhsc. edu

Mid-America Christian University • Oklahoma City • Type of institution: Four-year

university • Emphasis: Ministry and liberal

arts • Contact: 691-3800, (888) 436-


Oklahoma Baptist University • Shawnee • Type of institution: Four-year

university • Emphasis: Liberal arts • Contact: 275-2850 or (800)

654-3285, admissions

Oklahoma Christian University • Oklahoma City • Type of institution: Four-year

university • Emphasis: business, engineering and computer science, health sciences, biblical studies, liberal arts • Contact: 425-5050 or (800) 8775010,

Oklahoma City University • Oklahoma City • Type of institution: Four-year [THINKSTOCK PHOTO]

• Contact: Tishomingo — (580)

387-7000; Ardmore — (580) 2202858;

Southeastern Oklahoma State University — Mccurtain County

Oral Roberts University

• Idabel

• Emphasis: Liberal arts • Contact: (918) 495-6161 or (800)

• Type of institution: Four-year


Southeastern Oklahoma State University • Durant, branch in Idabel • Type of institution: Four-year university • Emphasis: Business, liberal arts and sciences, teacher education and aviation sciences • Contact: (580) 745-2000 or (800) 435-1327,

Connors State College • Warner — branch in Muskogee • Type of institution: Two-year College • Emphasis: General studies, occupational, transfer • Contact: Warner — (918) 463-2931, Muskogee — (918) 6876747,

• Type of institution: Branch campus • Emphasis: Lifelong learning • Contact: (580) 286-9431, www.

Wayland Baptist University • Altus • Type of institution: 4-year university • Emphasis: Business, occupa-

tional education • Contact: (580) 481-5243, www.


Oklahoma State University — Tulsa

• Emphasis: Technological fields,

business, technology • Contact: 767-9516, www.devry. edu/locations/campuses/loc_ oklahomacity.jsp


Langston University

Phillips Theological Seminary

• Langston — Branches in Oklahoma City and Tulsa • Type of institution: Four-year university • Emphasis: Liberal arts • Contact: 962-1663, (866) 4662231,

• Type of institution: Graduate • Emphasis: Theological

education • Contact: (918) 610-8303, www.

• Wilburton; branch in McAlester • Type of institution: Two-year college • Emphasis: in general education, business and nursing • Contact: Wilburton — (918) 4652361, (855) 534-3672, McAlester 918-426-5272,

Carl Albert State College • Poteau; branch in Sallisaw • Type of institution: Two-year college • Emphasis: General studies, vocational and compensatory • Contact: Poteau — (918) 6471200; Sallisaw — (918) 775-6977;

offering undergraduate and graduate degrees • Emphasis: business, engineering, liberal arts, education, aviation, early childhood development, elementary education, journalism and broadcasting, health and human performance, computer science • Contact: (918) 594-8000, www.

Tulsa Community College

• Emphasis: Comprehensive; liberal arts core curriculum • Contact: 208-5000 or (800) 6337242,

St. Gregory’s University • Shawnee — Branch in Tulsa • Type of institution: Four-year university • Emphasis: Liberal arts, nursing, adult learning • Contact: Shawnee — 8785100; Tulsa — 878-5200; www.

Rose State College

Southern Nazarene University

• Midwest City

• Bethany

University of Tulsa • Type of institution: Four-year

• Type of institution: Two-year

• Type of institution: Four-year

comprehensive university • Emphasis: Research, preprofessional and professional preparation • Contact: (918) 631-2000 or (800) 331-3050,



• Emphasis: Associate in arts, science or applied science and one-year certificates • Contact: 733-7673 or (866) 6210987,

• Emphasis: Liberal arts • Contact: 789-6400 or (800) 648-


Oklahoma City Community College

• Bethany

• Oklahoma City


• Type of institution: Two-year

• Emphasis: Christian liberal arts university with majors in multiple disciplines • Contact: 789-7661, www.swcu. edu

• Type of institution: OSU branch

Eastern Oklahoma State College



Southwestern Christian University • Type of institution: Four-year

Oklahoma State University — Oklahoma City • Type of institution: Two-year

technical branch • Emphasis: Associate of science,

associate in applied science and certificate programs • Contact: 947-4421 or (800) 5604099,

college • Emphasis: Transfer and technical/occupational • Contact: 682-1611, www.occc. edu

Randall University Redlands Community College • El Reno

• Type of institution: Two-year college • Emphasis: Transfer programs

Devry University

and work force development programs • Contact: (918) 595-7000, www.

• Oklahoma City

• Type of institution: Two-year

college • Type of institution: Four-year uni-

versity, bachelor and graduate programs.

• Emphasis: General, transfer and technical • Contact: 415-6367 or (866) 4156367,

• Moore • Type of institution: Christian institution providing courses of study leading to associate or bachelor's degrees and master of arts and ministry degree • Emphasis: Arts and sciences, Christian vocational studies • Contact: 912-9000,




Don’t be afraid to fail BY STEVEN PETROW Special to The Washington Post


wo of my nieces have headed off to college. They’ve been given a lot of advice recently, everything from the earnest “learn to set limits” to the jocular “don’t forget to eat your veggies.” Mine is counter-intuitive: Embrace your failures. This unorthodox perspective crystallized for me during a panel discussion I attended at Duke, my alma mater. The purpose was to convince undergrads to ditch their laser-like obsession with making money, or to paraphrase ABBA, take a chance on life. Among those on the panel was Courtney Spence, a Duke alum and a self-described “global storyteller,” who has run Students of the World, a nonprofit, since her junior year. Her advice to these young strivers: “In the real world you don’t always win,” she said. “You need to learn from your failures.” Spence, now 35, told the students how in her second year she lost her race for a student government position. “It was humiliating,” she admitted, but instead of running a second time, realized she needed to do something else. “Failures are points of opportunity,” she told the rapt undergrads — and me — who looked at her as though she came from another planet. “Those moments of time when you’re out of your comfort zone, you grow the most. Don’t fight that.

Embrace it. If I had won I might not have done the hard questioning, that I needed to do.” Listening to her, I found myself wishing that someone had extolled the virtues of failing earlier in my life. While I don’t consider myself a loser, I’ve certainly had my share of what I’d call failures. As a college applicant, two of my five choices rejected me. In my professional life I’ve been laid off twice (or was it three times?). Not a year has gone by without someone in my work-aday world saying, “I regret to inform you.” Or just plain, “Sorry.” Sure, I had read C.S. Lewis in my teens, but I seemed to have skipped over this line: “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” Instead, for much of my life I understood my failures as personal shortcomings. Two schools didn’t want me? Something must be wrong with me. Let go? I wasn’t good enough. Then, a few years ago, one rejection smacked me particularly hard: My publisher turned down a book proposal, delivering the blow on New Year’s Eve, which elevated my bourbon consumption and ruined my celebration. But the next day’s hangover delivered an unexpected benefit when I had a come-to-Jesus moment: What I had internalized as a failure morphed into something less personal, more manageable: An obstacle, like a boulder in my path. My way blocked, in this instance by my pub-

The path to success is not always direct, and winning does not always mean what you think it does. [THINKSTOCK PHOTO]

lisher’s rejection, I had no choice but to choose a different and unknown road. This is precisely what Spence meant by a “point of opportunity” masquerading as failure. Had that book deal happened, I wouldn’t have had the time to pen the regular newspaper column that came my way, or to go on longish vacations with my husband, or to spend time with my ailing parents. All of which I did, for which I’m grateful to have had the necessary time and freedom. Don’t get me wrong: the book rejection still stung, and my “opportunity,” didn’t materialize for nearly a year. Still, I’ve learned that the path to success is not always direct, and that winning does not always mean what you think it does. Young ladies: I wish it hadn’t taken me until midlife to learn this lesson.




What college admissions officers say they want in a high school candidate BY JUDY MANDELL Special to The Washington Post

Wondering which college is the best fit for you and how to make that happen? We asked dozens of admissions officers to reveal the truth about admissions today. Here is what some of them they told us: Martha Blevins Allman, Wake Forest University dean of admissions:

“Concentrate not on being the best candidate, but on being the best person. Pay attention to what is going on in the world around you. If you do those things, not only will the world be a better place because you’re in it, your greatest admissions worry will be choosing which college to pick from. I look for beautiful, clear writing that comes to life on the essay page and offers insight into the character and personality of the student. Beware of being someone you are not in the essay. Beware of outside influence. Editing by adults or professionals often removes the very elements that admissions officers seek.” Tim Wolfe, College of William & Mary associate provost for enrollment and dean of admissions:

“Essays can help an admission committee better understand the individual and how he or she will add to the campus community. They are also an opportunity for us to evaluate a student’s ability to communicate through the written format. Whether you major in physics, history or business, you’ll need to write and be able to share thoughts and ideas with your professors and fellow students. The college application is an opportunity for the student to share his or her story and allows students the opportunity to add their voices to this process. We can get a glimpse into their personalities, and perhaps, learn something new about them, their backgrounds and experiences that doesn’t necessarily show up elsewhere in the application.” Ken Anselment, Lawrence University dean of admissions and financial aid:

“Writing an application essay might feel like you’re singing for the judges on “The Voice,” hoping that what you write will get them to pound their giant button, turn their chairs and say, “I want you.” It’s true that your voice is what we are looking for. When you write your college essay, use your authentic voice. If you’re a serious person, write your essay with a serious voice. If you’re a funny person, be funny. If you’re not a funny person, your college essay might not be the best place to try on that funny writer voice for the first time.” Stefanie Niles, Dickinson College vice president for enrollment, marketing and communications:

“Nothing is more important than a high school transcript showing strong academic performance in a solid curriculum. We want to admit students who will persist to college graduation, so knowing that you can do the work starts with a thorough review of high-school performance. The essay also matters; we want to see that you can write, what you write and what we

can learn about you. We want to enroll students who will contribute to the life of the campus, so we are eager to see how you have contributed to your high-school community or the community in which you live.” Toni Riley, Illinois Institute of Technology director of undergraduate admission:

“If you had a bad semester or a bad year, and your cumulative GPA doesn’t reflect your ability or your overall high school career, still apply, but talk about the decline in your grades in your application. It is a pet peeve when we see an anomaly in grades and the student never addresses this. Tell us what happened and how you turned it around. This is a great way for us to see how you respond to setbacks. If you had a recent decline in grades we may ask to see another semester of work before making a final admission decision, but you have nothing to fear if you turned it around.” Anthony Ferguson Jr., Drake University admissions counselor:

“College will be a fun time, but it also may seem like a daunting journey, so relish the time you have with your friends and lose yourself in the small moments that make you laugh till your stomach hurts — college will be there when it’s all over. Applicants who are able to convey that they have spent their high school years exploring different classes, activities and opportunities immediately grab my attention. The most attractive applications ultimately grant me insight into the applicant’s passion, motivation and reasoning behind wanting to be at Drake.” Anthony E. Jones, DePauw University vice president for enrollment management:

“Institutions exist to supply the world with new knowledge and an acculturated, wellinformed society. This takes an optimal graduation rate, and the main ingredient contributing to that is persistence on the part of the student. Whether reflected in the essay or the thoughtful confluence of the academic course load and extracurricular activities, a successful applicant should highlight an ability to overcome obstacles and garner results. It’s about proving you can produce outcomes, both on the part of the student and the university.” Kaitlyn Botelho, Lasell College associate director of admission:

“I would rather a student tell me about the handful of clubs and activities they have been involved with and excelled in, rather than an exhaustive list of clubs they that they feigned interest in, kindof-sort-of-one-day. This leaves students with little time to flourish in any one organization, or worse, they suffer academically due to overinvolvement. A student that has been a leader in one or two organizations will typically make for a better citizen on campus than a student who is already burned out before they even get to college.” Robert D. McCraig, Monmouth University vice president for enrollment management:

“The most important

things students should do when applying to college is pace themselves and prioritize. Starting early certainly helps students with the pacing, and knowing when to put time into SAT prep versus studying for an exam versus visiting another college, for instance, is an important part of prioritizing. There is this great myth out there that where you go to college will dictate your success in life. For the vast majority of students, that simply isn’t true. What you do in college matters far more than where you go.” Chris Hooker-Haring, Muhlenberg College vice president for enrollment management:

“Think about your extracurricular contribution — community service, athletics, the arts and elected leadership. What are you good at and what do you care about deeply outside the classroom? The college application process is a wonderful opportunity for self-discovery. You will find out things about yourself, what motivates you and what excites

you. This is a passage to an exciting new chapter in your life. We want to get to know you and your story, and we want to help you in this process. This is a people-helpingpeople business. If you see it that way, it can help you relax and enjoy the process.” Ross R. Grippi II, Ohio Wesleyan University director of admission:

“Finding the right fit for you (not mom and dad) isn’t a cliche, so be yourself throughout the process. We’ll read right through you if you’re not. You can’t fake it during the admission process. If you do, you’ll end up at a college or university that’s a poor fit.” Meaghan Arena, SUNY Genesceo vice president for enrollment management:

“Keep in touch with us. Students who keep in touch with us themselves build better relationships with our admissions counselors. Getting to know students on a personal level is one of our most rewarding experiences and really helps us

to advocate for you when it’s time to make offers of admission.” Jaime Garcia, former admissions counselor for Northwestern University and presently director of college access at Chicago Scholars:

“If you are 100 percent sure where you want to go, seek early admission. Generally, college admissions officers know that those who apply for early decision are those who have a higher satisfaction rate when they are on campus. Because early decision is a great indicator for this satisfaction, schools frequently have goals and benchmarks for admitting a particular percentage of students through early decision. They won’t tell you this, but early-admission acceptance rates are often higher than regular acceptance rates. It is also less competitive because the applicant pool is smaller than regular decision.” Andy Strickler, Connecticut College dean of admission and financial aid:

“Applying for admis-

sion and being denied is not the end of the world. This is a great opportunity to experience and learn that one can emerge from it a stronger individual. Ignore all the outside noise and don’t think about specific schools, think about yourself. Ask yourself the hard questions about what kind of environment you need to be successful in college. Then think about specific schools that match your ideal set of characteristics. Finally, invest the time and energy to visit campuses and test the assumptions you have made about these attributes.” Justin Rogers, Canisius College director of undergraduate admissions:

“The only thing colleges and universities have in common is that we are all different. The same can be said for the students who apply. Make sure the colleges know that. Tell your story. Some of my most memorable offers of admission have gone to students who like to color outside the lines.”







Online, the new school of dorm decor BY ELIZABETH MAYHEW Special to The Washington Post


nce my daughter turned in her college acceptance form, her next step was not combing through the course catalogue to figure out her classes; instead, she set out to find a roommate. This was a surprise to me. I had assumed roommates were randomly assigned, as they were when I went to college, but social media has made it possible for newly admitted students to seek out their own living arrangements, and many colleges and universities honor their requests. In my daughter’s case, she ended up finding a potential roommate through a friend of a friend. The two girls set up a time to iChat, and after a rapid-fire session of questioning that resembled speed dating, they decided that they were probably compatible. By the end of the conversation, they had even agreed on a periwinkle blue color scheme for their room. Last week, they learned their request had been granted. By removing a big unknown, one can better plan and manage expectations. For many students, something as simple as pre-coordinating duvet colors or deciding who will provide the room’s minifridge alleviates unnecessary anxiety, making the transition to college life that much easier. But even if a student has pre-chosen a roommate, there is still the

The big box stores carry just about everything, but a more targeted inventory is available through several online retailers that specialize in dorm room decor. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

stress of acquiring all of the stuff one needs for the dorm room. The big-box stores carry just about everything, but a more targeted inventory is available through several online retailers. is one such company. It was launched three years ago by two cousins, Shanil Wazirali, 26, and Sagar Hemani, 24, had been overwhelmed by the cost and frustrated by the amount of stuff they needed to outfit their dorm rooms. Shanil explained in an e-mail, “We didn’t want other students to be tricked into buying everything stores told them they ‘needed,’ overspending the way we did. We took surveys on our own campuses to understand what students actually ended up buying versus using. We then curated packages to create a shopping experience that would be easy for parents and students to get the true essentials, all in one box.” The company offers three packages: The most basic (mostly bedding and towels plus a muchneeded clip-on fan) costs

$175, a mid-range level is $239 (with added items including a shower caddy, flip flops, plastic dishes and a set of utensils), and a deluxe level is $299 (whose additions include a bulletin/whiteboard, computer speakers and a first aid kit). Buyers specify the package as well as color and pattern preference. Dorm It Up delivers it for free to the student’s dorm. Students who prefer a la carte shopping might prefer, which promises affordable prices for bedding, bath and laundry needs, organizing, decorating and studying supplies, and even security and safety products. The company says it can keep prices low because it started as a wholesaler that, with the advent of online shopping, began selling directly to the consumer. Almost everything ships from its Buffalo warehouse within 24 hours for a flat $2.95 per order. Mayhew, a “Today” show style expert and former magazine editor, is the author of “Flip! for Decorating.”






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